John B. Fairchild: 1927-2015

February 27, 2015 BY STEVE DOOL


Legendary fashion industry leader John B. Fairchild passed away this morning after a long period of illness. Credited with transforming the industry trade standard Women's Wear Daily into the publication it is today, Fairchild served as head of his family's publishing business until he retired almost twenty years ago.

Fittingly, WWD has rounded up some of Fairchild's most famous quotes from his long career - and for a man described by Anna Wintour as someone who could make designers "literally quiver in his wake," there is no shortage of material to pull from. But whatever trouble his controversial quips may have given him, one thing was always gave him pride throughout his professional career: “The people I worked with — and the fun. We always had fun.”

Here, some highlights from WWD's quotable round-up.

“She [Coco Chanel] had the best wine and Champagne. We would both be bombed out of our minds.” - Vanity Fair, 2012

“If I see another movie star in a fashion magazine — it’s ridiculous! It’s a nightmare. That’s what they call cutting edge. I hate that word. And buzz. It’s a crock. They love buzz! When I hear the word buzz, it reminds me of a chainsaw.” - The New York Observer, 2010

“It shouldn’t be just fashion. That’s my philosophy right or wrong. In the fashion world, it’s totally ridiculous. One hand wags the other hand. The thing that’s often forgotten, that is really forgotten, is that the reader is what counts. If you don’t amuse the reader or stimulate the reader, you’re not doing your job.” - The New York Observer, 2010

“Sure we have gossip; we also have some very, very solid business stories. We are a creation of this business, which is fast, mean, tough, sometimes artistic, sometimes fun, sometimes horrible. However, we do not run divorces, love affairs, murders or rapes. We don’t delve into that, [though] business today is rape, murder, money, power, all of it.” - Vanity Fair, 1986

“Washington is the deadest city in America.” -Vanity Fair, 1986

“Don’t get me on royalty. I find it so boring. Prince Rainier! How dare he sit at dinner next to Pat Buckley, who’s a fun, exciting woman, and he doesn’t say one word — all he does is stuff his face with food!” -Vanity Fair, 1986

“In the fashion business it’s almost against the law to tell the truth.” -Life, 1967

“No one has the right to determine who is best dressed. The Best Dressed List is a gimmick and a bunch of rot.” -Life, 1967

“Good fashion is simple. When a woman comes into a room no one should stare and be shocked — and they shouldn’t think she is an old dishrag. Bad fashion is when a woman exaggerates. Take the period of the big-front, tight sweaters. Marilyn Monroe stuff. It looked great on Marilyn Monroe, but it was grotesque to wear to a lunch in a thick-carpeted midtown restaurant.” -Life, 1967

“If we learn Mr. X is about to be fired, we immediately run the story. The poor man may read about it in the paper before his boss has told him about it, but we can’t coddle our subjects and an individual’s feelings can’t count.” -Life, 1967

“You have to be shallow to spend more than a certain amount of time on how you look. The majority of women on the Best Dressed List bore me to death.” -Town & Country, 1966

“Most women look awful in pants and should never wear them unless the pants are very well cut and the ladies are very well cut.” -Town & Country, 1966

“It is the mark of a badly dressed woman when she doesn’t dress her age. There is no sense going against nature.” -Town & Country, 1966

Photo via WWD